In the late 1990s, Benjamin de Rothschild and Laurent Dassault, in their quest to identify great terroir at the foot of the Andes Mountain Range, found an extraordinary location in Vista Flores, Uco Valley, Mendoza. Challenged with creating a vineyard from scratch and producing great wines in a region which was then still relatively new to wine, each partner bought 100 hectares which were then combined to create a vast, coherent property. Following construction work to provide electricity and irrigation, the first vines were planted gradually from 1999, then a cellar was built in 2003, after which the winery launched with its first harvest in 2004, giving birth to Flechas de los Andes (Arrows of the Andes).
Creating a winery from the ground up was no easy feat for the Frenchmen and was quite the ambitious undertaking at that time. Its architecture is one of a kind and features arrows heavily in the design, echoing the visual trademark of the Rothschild family, while also honouring the style of traditional Argentine estancias. Today the winery at Flechas de los Andes is well-known throughout the Mendoza province, having been established as the Uco Valley was emerging as a major wine-making region of national and international renown. It synthesises all current knowledge acquired through the Bordeaux experience of the two founders and its vineyards are managed with a certain degree of perfectionist zeal, aiming at both top quality and respect of the environment.
Since its beginnings, Flechas de los Andes has been working silently and very precisely by dedicating itself to studying, plant by plant, each square metre of its vineyards. Currently, Flecha de los Andes produces about 500,000 bottles per harvest, a volume that, for the winemaker, places the winery in the boutique segment. The wines produced by Flechas de los Andes follow the concept of "Wine Estate", which sees all vintages being produced from one single vineyard, located at the same site where the winery is. The vintners make sure that vines are carefully treated in each stage of their development through the four different seasons, resulting in wines of a consistent quality that express the purity of the terroir.
Below are five wines from Flechas de los Andes that you need to know about:
Punta de Flechas Rosé 2020 is one of Argentina's most original rosés made with 98 per cent Tannat grapes and 2 per cent Torrontés grapes from vineyards in Vista Flores, Uco Valley. On the nose it is intensely floral with aromas of red and white flowers along with many red fruits, as well as a suggestive herbal touch. In the mouth, it has a gentle acidic attack with a good mid-palate that is sweet and full-bodied, ending in a long, refreshing finish.
Punta de Flechas Malbec 2020, a wine of great purity and definition, is made from 100 per cent Malbec grapes and is deep red in colour with violet tones. It expresses aromas of marked red fruit, along with spicy herbal notes provided by the herbs of the terroir and, in the background, a floral note. On the palate, it offers a dry pulse, fine-grained tannins with good texture and integrated acidity that contribute to fluidity. At all times there are traces of oak (vanilla) that provide complexity and enhance the character of Malbec.
Punta de Flechas Blend 2020, a red blend comprising 50 per cent Malbec, 24 per cent Merlot, 24 per cent Cabernet Sauvignon, 2 per cent Petit Verdot, is wine with an intense violet-red colour. The nose is elegant and balanced, with Malbec and Merlot providing fruity aromas while Petit Verdot offers a subtle touch of white pepper. In the mouth it is a tenacious wine, with long persistence, as well as a wide centre of the mouth, the main contribution of Cabernet Sauvignon. The softness of tannins and the minerality typical of the terroir, added to the adequate acidity, make this an ideal wine to drink young or keep for three or four years in the bottle.
Flecha de los Andes Gran Cabernet Franc 2021 is a 100 per cent varietal that is deep bright ruby and concentrated colour, with violet reflections. On the nose this wine expresses clean and compact aromas that are delicate, with slight hints of black fruits, dried herbs and a touch of smoke. The mouthfeel has medium intensity, good volume and freshness, fluid but compact in its expressions. The attack has expression and grip, but is still vibrant, showcasing a young wine, with sustained freshness along with a very spiced character that adds a certain depth to the finish.
Flecha de los Andes Gran Corte 2017 is another blend made up of 60 per cent Malbec, 20 per cent Syrah and 20 per cent Cabernet Franc from vineyards in Mendoza's Uco Valley. Bursting with aromas of dark plum, cherry and plenty of wild berries, this is an opulent and powerful wine with a good floral and sweet spice cushion, after passing through barrels. The co-fermentation of Malbec with Cabernet Franc gives it a twist and takes it out of any predictable area, with a fresh twist that adds nuances. In the mouth its acidity is very well-integrated, preventing it from lingering too much on the palate.
The Rothschild family's commitment to sustainable viticulture ensures that every bottle not only delights the senses but also nourishes the earth. They have seamlessly blended tradition with innovation to create wines that are both timeless and contemporary, embodying the spirit of the Andes. Salud!